Tonight, several years since it last did so, the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte will host a town hall for community members to share their ideas, thoughts, suggestions, feedback and concerns. The event, prompted in part by my several posts exploring the center’s operations and activities last month, will be held tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, 2508 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC, 28205.
I encourage you to attend, and to bring any questions or ideas you might have for the center’s leadership. You can click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook.
Many of the concerns I have had have revolved around the center’s financial stability and stewardship, as well as their organizational responsibility. I’ve challenged the organization to publicly release its bylaws (which it finally did last month) and its financial reports (which it also finally did last month). Other concerns are left unaddressed; we don’t yet know if they will open their board meetings to the public or if they have yet to renew their charitable solicitation license with the state.
- Rent or resources? What are local LGBT organizations’ priorities?, Nov. 3, 2013
- Charlotte’s LGBT center: Irresponsible spending, irresponsible non-profit governance, Nov. 10, 2013
- Source says Charlotte LGBT center rejected building purchase, board membership was purposefully kept small and exclusive, Nov. 11, 2013
- Charlotte LGBT center finally releases bylaws, financial documents to public, but more questions still need answers, Nov. 11, 2013
- Charlotte LGBT center issues misleading response, leaves several questions unanswered, but says it will host town hall meeting, Nov. 12, 2013
- The community voices the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte willfully ignored in their public statement on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2013
- Charlotte LGBT center announces it will hold town hall for community on Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Nov. 13, 2013
- Who are the true ‘bully leaders’ in Charlotte’s LGBT community?, Nov. 16, 2013
I hope to get answers to these questions and several others on Wednesday, but, most importantly, I’m interested in hearing what community members like you have to say about the center’s leadership, programs, services and direction. And, it’s clear center leadership needs community feedback.
“What does the center actually do?” This a question I hear posed by community members time and time and time again. And, there are never any answers from center leadership. Perhaps, it’s because center board members themselves historically have not known what their organization’s mission truly is.
To get your minds prepped and thoughts flowing for tonight’s town hall, I’ve included a bit of a thought exercise below, quoting several differing versions of the center’s mission and purpose. Use them to begin asking what you want your center to be, what it can or should be doing and how it’s leaders should respond to community feedback.
The differing versions of the center’s mission and purpose were each found in official tax or other government documents, on the center’s website and elsewhere. Each of the statements — though sometimes differing wildly and even at times differing within the same single document — contain great ideas for the center’s mission and direction. I’m hoping Wednesday’s town hall finally gets us all — together — closer to knowing and trusting what the center is doing for our community now and what it seeks to do for our community in the future.
NOTE: The below text comes from several documents from the center’s various mission statements or purpose statements. These are directly quoted; I have not edited them to correct spelling or offensive labels like “transgendered.” You may also notice the organization is sometimes referred to as “Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Charlotte” in some of these statements, as that name remains the legal name of the organization, as noted in its bylaws and as filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State and IRS.
Center Purpose – Current Bylaws
The Lesbian and Gay Community Center provides space and opportunity to nurture, celebrate, and empower our diverse LGBT community through programs, events, and collaboration.
Center Purpose – Original Bylaws (2001)
The Lesbian and Gay Community Center Project provides a home for the birth, nurturing, and celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations, institutions, and culture; offers access to informational and educational resources and activities designed to empower individuals to achieve their fullest potential; promotes strong community partnerships; opposes prejudice; and, increases public affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals through education, advocacy, and outreach.
Center Mission – 2012 Form 990, page 1
The most significant activity is producing the Charlotte Pride event and providing safe environment for other recreational and educational activities.
Center Mission – 2012 Form 990, page 2
Providing education for the general public. Educating and providing safe environment for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.
Center Program Services – 2012 Form 900, page 2
Program services include providing safe environment for education and recreation. Building space is made available for various events through the year that are directed towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community.
Center Purpose – 2011 Form 990-EZ Part III, Line 28 attachment
To provide a home for the nurture and celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations, institutions, and culture; to offer access to informational and educational resources and activities designed to empower individuals to achieve their fullest potential, promote strong community partnerships, oppose prejudice and increase public affirmation of LGBT individuals through education, advocacy, and outreach.
Charitable Solicitation License (Expired) – Page 1, Line 5
Public Charity — providing programs and services in support of the Charlotte LGBT community
Charitable Solicitation License (Expired) – Page 3, Line 22-D
To provide a space and opportunity to nurture, celebrate, and empower our diverse LGBT community through programs, events, and collaboration.
Center Description – Website, front page
The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte is the neighborhood venue that offers programming, provides resources and serves as a voice for our diverse community. For over a decade we have provided
a safe place that welcomes all.
Center Mission – Website, “Center History & Mission”‘
The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte seeks to promote diversity, acceptance, and visibility of the LGBT community through original and collaborative programming and events, and by providing and inclusive, welcoming, and affordable environtment for all.
Our Values and Goals:
- To inspire a sense of pride, wellness, and responsibility among individuals in the LGBT community
- To increase public awareness and understanding of the LGBT community
- To increase opportunities for learning, topical dialogues, and forums for discussion
- To enhance access to resources by serving as a central point of information and referrals to local organizations.
Center Mission – Facebook Page
* To provide a welcoming, fun, safe, and inclusive gathering place for meetings and events
* To enhance access to resources by serving as a central point of information and referrals to local organizations
* To initiate and cooperate on programs serving the LGBT population
* To host social events and promote a sense of community
* To present opportunities for learning, topical dialogues, and forums for discussion
* To promote a more efficient use of nonprofit funds through affordable meeting space, pooled office costs, and project collaboration.
* To reduce isolation among marginalized and under-served groups within the community
* To increase public awareness and understanding of the LGBT community
* To inspire a sense of pride, wellness, and responsibility among individuals in the LGBT community
* To channel advocacy of fairness and equality for the LGBT community
* To strengthen community development by fostering interaction among organizations and individuals
* To incubate start-up groups to address unmet needs in the LGBT community
Center Description – Facebook page
The LGBT Community Center provides space and opportunity to nurture, celebrate, and empower our diverse LGBT community through programs, events, and collaboration.